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#6889714 - 09/17/17 08:47 AM Which Thermal Unit
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
I am looking for a thermal to use solely when I backpack. The areas I go are wooded with some open areas near ponds. So, most of its use will be within a forest not out in open land.

My purpose of the thermal is for general scouting around to see what is active in the woods where I backpack. I'm not interested in detecting a rabbit but do want to know what larger game might be traveling through.

No dealer is near me so I won't have an opportunity to see before I buy. Initially, I thought about the Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ23V. It is reasonably priced. I've also considered the Pulsar Helion XQ30F. That would provide recording capability and easy transfer either by Wifi or USB. Recording would be possible with the Quantum XQ23V if I got a mini-DVR package.

I've never owned nor used thermals so I have no benchmark by which to make a decision. Any guidance or recommendations of other units would be greatly appreciated.

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#6889734 - 09/17/17 09:04 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 5038
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
For sheer size and short range viewing, I would suggest something like a FLIR PS32. These are now sort of pricey for what you get, but they are very compact for hiking purposes. You can recognize deer and stuff at a couple hundred yards. If you are going to spend a bit more and get more size, I would suggest the Helion XQ38, NOT the 30. There is a goodly difference in image quality and I think you would be happier with the 38. The Helion is a sexy platform and I don't believe the 30 makes very good use of the capabilities.

The Quantum isn't waterproof/resistant like the Helion. It does not have a rechargeable battery. To record, you would (and I have done this) have to piggyback a dvr. That is sort of a pain to do with the wires and such, not to mention the bulk.

So I would vote for the Helion and NOT the bottom of the line XQ30 version, but a step up with the XQ38.
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#6889746 - 09/17/17 09:16 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
Pig_Popper Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/16/15
Posts: 1101
Loc: Fort Worth
Do you backpack at night?

I'm not seeing a benefit to thermal use for daytime backpacking.

Also for scouting around you'll want to avoid an external DVR, they shine light from their video screen and will blow your cover...
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#6889757 - 09/17/17 09:27 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
I don't hike at night but when I backpack, I am out for several days at a time. I backpack into the same general area which has mountains and many ponds. I'd like to narrow down which areas are getting visited the most by game.

While at camp at night, using a thermal would help me determine what is coming through which area.



Edited by wiiawiwb (09/17/17 09:27 AM)

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#6889811 - 09/17/17 10:26 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 5038
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
There is a big benefit for thermal daytime use if you are in the woods with a good canopy. Animals tend to blend in much more in a low light environment (such as under a canopy) and so you definitely spot them easier with thermal.
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#6889827 - 09/17/17 10:39 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
Where I go, you are almost always under the canopy of trees. I'm sure that the use of thermal in wooded environment, where deer and hogs are partially obscured by trees, is a different challenge than with open fields.

Would that have any affect on the decision of what unit to choose?

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#6889967 - 09/17/17 02:19 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
MDMORROW Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/10/11
Posts: 2900
Loc: McKinney & Pottsboro, TX
Thermal is just as handy in the day in my opinion. If you think you will want recording ability go Helion. No question.

I've been real happy with them.
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Night Vision & Thermal Sales
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#6889969 - 09/17/17 02:23 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
Bearclaw Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/05/12
Posts: 1897
Loc: Dallas, TX
We rent thermal nationwide so yo can try before you buy. Give us a call to discuss we have first hand experience with the above units. My personal opinion would most likely be a Helion.

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#6890055 - 09/17/17 04:24 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
Pig_Popper Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/16/15
Posts: 1101
Loc: Fort Worth
I'd say rent one and try it -

Bedded down hog versus deer in cover will be a tough call past 20 yards - you'll see a white hot blob but vegetation makes it difficult in thick cover.

Open fields and light vegetation pose no match for thermals capabilities but it is still VERY difficult to detect and ID in natural thick areas not to mention animals who are close in temperature to their natural environment.

It's a good question posed ...

I'm curious , in the backpacking world, what reports on thermal use have you been able to find inline with your described use?

I say thermal is not beneficial in daytime because you can ordinarily use high end conventional optics (monocular or binocular) to study animals and their environment.

National Geographic has great footage taken in natural environments without thermal images making the final cut reel...

I'm leaning towards the highest optic magnification and resolution you can afford so you can peer into the natural environment from a safe distance and tune that focus to garner a sharp image.

Goodluck
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#6890094 - 09/17/17 04:58 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
All great advice, thank you.

My guess is that I will be dealing with deer that is moving rather than stationary. At a minimum , I will move about at night myself from time to time while observing. That alone should stir up whatever game is out there.

In the past, I've done the same nighttime movement and tried to determine what was out there using a flashlight. Not very successful as you can imagine.

Within 50 yards, which is the most probable distance I would expect, is the clarity much different with to XQ30 vs XQ38?

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#6890483 - 09/17/17 11:16 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
I will always be using the thermal to scan while in a forest and expect the longest distance to be about 150 yards. Doesn't that argue for selecting a larger vs smaller FOV?


Edited by wiiawiwb (09/18/17 12:27 AM)

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#6891015 - 09/18/17 01:11 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 117
Loc: Appleby, TX
I agree with the others, I like the Helion XQ38 over the XQ30 but for your situation in just using this for general observation at the very close distances of 50-150 yards, I don't think you'd be disappointed in the XQ30. However, with that said, I think you really need to decide how important the recording, wi-fi and rechargeable battery pack is to you. If it's not really that important, you can save yourself $800 by buying the Quantum Lite XQ23 vs the Helion XQ30 and you save $1,300 vs buying the Helion XQ38. That's a LOT of money.

I love the Helions and think they are great but if video recording is just a fun idea, then they probably aren't worth it. However, if you really think you will use the video recording, then I'd definitely go with the Helion. A video recorder and cable for the XQ23V will cost over $200 and then you will have to content with the cable and the MDVR with no really good place to hold/secure it. The image quality will be better on the Helions but the Quantum Lite is nothing to throw rocks at. It really just boils down to how serious you are about this, what features you really need/want and what your budget is.

- Jason
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#6891835 - 09/19/17 07:09 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
The recording is consideration but not a deal killer. I always wear a Hill People Gear chest pack when I am in the woods. The DVR would go there and I'd run the cable out from there to the thermal unit.



Edited by wiiawiwb (09/19/17 07:20 AM)

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#6892945 - 09/19/17 10:52 PM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
wiiawiwb Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/16/17
Posts: 29
For those who use a thermal monocular in the woods, what would be the minimum FOV you'd want? 12 degrees, 14 degrees, 18 degrees, other?

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#6893121 - 09/20/17 08:25 AM Re: Which Thermal Unit [Re: wiiawiwb]
MDMORROW Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/10/11
Posts: 2900
Loc: McKinney & Pottsboro, TX
Originally Posted By: wiiawiwb
The recording is consideration but not a deal killer. I always wear a Hill People Gear chest pack when I am in the woods. The DVR would go there and I'd run the cable out from there to the thermal unit.



If that's the case I wouldn't hesitate to look at the Quantum Lite series. They're priced right for sure. Basically the same as the old HD19S but with some more features and a better core and much less expensive.

Originally Posted By: wiiawiwb
For those who use a thermal monocular in the woods, what would be the minimum FOV you'd want? 12 degrees, 14 degrees, 18 degrees, other?


Anywhere in there is fine for me. 12 deg be about my tightest field I'd want in a spotter.
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Night Vision & Thermal Sales
FLIR|Pulsar|Trijicon Electro-Optics|Steiner|ATN
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